A Week of Beautiful Jewels at Bonhams-London

by Reema Farooqui
Bonhams London

Coming up this week, Bonhams is having three back to back jewelry auctions. London Jewels takes place on 14th July, Knightsbridge Jewels on the 15th and California Jewels on the 16th. I can tell that this is going to be a very busy and exciting week at Bonhams Jewels.

I have been perusing the online catalogues for all three sales for the past few days and it has been near impossible to say which lots I love the most.

Nevertheless, some lots, with exceptional pearl jewelry pieces, really spoke to me and those are the ones I am thrilled to write about.

London Jewels, July 14th, 2020, starting at 11:00 am BST

I found the pearl jewelry lots in the London Jewelry Auction to be varied and representing Jewelry History, Superb Craftsmanship and Famous Jewelry Designers.

Lot: 311: A Diamond and Pearl Mistletoe Brooch, circa 1890. £14000-18,000; CAD$24,000-31,000

A very romantic piece of jewelry with an interesting, albeit, unverified history. Sleek and somewhat stylised, this brooch reimagines the mistletoe as delicate sprigs set with old-brilliant, cushion and rose-cut diamonds, bearing two pearl ‘berries.’ Mounted in silver-topped gold, this is an exquisite example of French design and craftsmanship of late 19th century. In addition, it comes in an original Vever box. I love this piece because this brooch bears a very deep similarity to the work of Lalique and Vever. Lalique, as we know, continued to design jewelry for illustrious Jewelry Houses in Paris, even after opening his own and it could very well be that this brooch has been designed and crafted by Lalique for the House of Vever.

Notes: There are two original Lalique designs of mistletoe jewels, similar to Lot 331, dated 1892-1894, pictured in Sigrid Barten’s landmark book “René Lalique: Schmuck und Objets d’Art 1890-1910” pp.378-379.

Lot 313: Carlo Giuliano Necklace. Image Courtesy of Bonhams 1793

Lot 313: A Seed Pearl, Sapphire, Diamond and Enamel Necklace, Carlo Giuliano Circa 1865. 15,000-20,000; CAD$ 26,000-34,000.

This is a classic Carlo Giuliano necklace! It features a gorgeous diamond shaped pendant, adorned with delicate enamel and lovely gemstones, suspended from a necklace of seed pearls. Just the scroll work of the pendant is something incredible to behold! Set with rose cut diamonds and cushion cut sapphires and finished with white and black enamel, I believe this pendant is what will pop up when you search for antique-jewelry eye-candy! The pendant itself is suspended from a ten-row seed pearl necklace, with each side of the necklace linked to black and white scrolling cartouche terminals. The pearl drop suspended from the pendant completes the entire look. Perfection! I love Carlo Giuliano’s work, his craftsmanship is marvelous, and his enamel work so refined. Therefore, finding Lot 313 in Bonhams’ London Jewels auction really made my day.

Lot 344: Art Deco Brooch, Lacloches Freres. Image Courtesy of Bonhams 1783

Lot 344: Art Deco Natural Pearl, Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, Lacloches Freres, circa 1925. £12,000-18,000: CAD $ 21,000- 31,000.

Lacloches Freres, known for their fine and creative Art Deco jewels, used different materials, shapes and designs for their jewelry pieces and found inspiration from Chinese and Japanese art and culture. This brooch is an outstanding example of their prowess in jewelry design and craftsmanship. A shield-shaped plaque, a drop-shaped grey hued natural pearl suspended in the middle and surrounded by vari-cut diamonds and sapphires. The grey natural pearl is also quite extraordinary- the drop shape is almost perfect, the lustre is bright and the colour is lovely! I was drawn to this brooch, first because it is such a gorgeous example of Lacloches Freres work, but also by the colours-white diamonds, blue sapphires and a grey pearl. How can anyone go wrong with this level of perfection?

Lot 363: Cultured Pearl and Diamond Collar, Repossi. Image Courtesy of Bonhams 1793

Lot 363: A Cultured Pearl and Diamond Collar, Repossi. £ 7,000-10,000; CAD$ 12,000-17,000.

Three rows of lustrous cultured pearls come together to join graduated, trapezoid plaques set with diamonds, this necklace is true showstopper! The diamonds adorning the plaques are either triangular, baguette, brilliant or oval shaped and their brilliance and sparkle is breathtaking. The central plaque bears a larger diamond, measuring around 2.00 carats and the remaining diamonds weigh approximately an impressive 11.50 carats! However, the cultured pearls are equally enchanting. Creamy white, with some slight pink overtones, these pearls are very subtly graduated and present a uniformity of colour and shape which is outstanding! There is an unmistakable wow factor to this necklace!

Lot 409: Art Deco Brooch, Boivin. Image Courtesy of Bonhams 1793

Lot 409: An Art Deco Rock Crystal, Enamel, Pearl and Diamond Brooch, Boivin, circa 1920. £8,000-10,000; CAD $14,000-17,000.

Such a beautiful brooch! Clear rock crystal openwork plaque with a decoration of pearls, old brilliant-cut diamonds and black enamel makes this brooch very striking. There is a certain simplicity to the design when you first see it, but the more you reflect upon it, the greater the mastery and artistry of this piece comes to light. The open work element of the design is outstanding, the decoration of pearls, diamonds and black enamel, very typical of Art Deco jewelry is uncomplicated and yet very elegant and the geometric shape and step-cut rock crystal, makes this brooch a piece of wearable art! What else is to be expected from a Boivin piece?

For me, these pieces of fine and high jewelry really stood out. Whenever I have written about a jewels auction at Bonhams, I have always found the pearl jewelry selection to be spectacular.

At the London Jewels Auction on the 14th, all the pearl jewelry lots are different in their design philosophy and sources of inspiration, yet each has two things in common-exceptional craftsmanship and a superb representation of the era of jewelry making they belong to.

Check out Bonhams’ London Jewels Auction online and find your favourite piece of jewelry and share in the comments below 🙂

Featured Image: Lot 360, A Pair of Cultured Pearl and Diamond Ear Clips, Cartier.

All images used in this post are the property of Bonhams 1793. Any person or organization not affiliated with Bonhams 1793 may not use, copy, alter or modify any of the images used in this post, without the advance written permission of Bonhams 1793.

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